After losing Onelki Garcia on waivers to the Chicago White Sox and with the Rule 5 Draft approaching, the Los Angeles Dodgers took measures to protect three prospects.
The team announced Thursday Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Scott Schebler were added to the 40-man roster, which now sits at 39 players. It also includes recent additions infielder Ryan Jackson and outfielder Kyle Jensen.
In the four years after the Dodgers handed Lee $5.25 million in 2010, he’s fallen from being projected as a right-handed Clayton Kershaw to an average prospect. In his first season, Lee pitched well in the Midwest League, posting a 3.47 ERA in 109 innings, earning the No. 62 spot on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list.
Lee had a slight regression in 2012 was buffered by a rebound in 2013, when he put up a 3.22 ERA in Double-A at the age of 21. However, he struggled last season in Triple-A Albuquerque and surrendered a career-high ERA of 5.38 in 150.2 innings.
With the Dodgers adding Lee to the 40-man roster, it leaves open the possibility he works his way into the backend of their starting rotation in the near future. His biggest obstacle is his below average ability to miss bats, as evidenced by 5.8 K/9 rate with the Isotopes last year. Lee gets by on his command and ability to mix his pitches but if his control is off, he will have a difficult time being effective.
Reed was the Dodgers’ first-rounder one year after they selected Lee. The Stanford closer turned starter had a rough debut but has been fairly productive over the past three seasons.
In 2012, Reed split time between High-A and Double-A and posted a combined 3.97 ERA. In his return to Chattanooga in 2013, the southpaw lowered his ERA with the Lookouts by nearly a full run, at 3.86, down from 4.84 in his late-season promotion the season before.
In 2014, Reed again lowered his ERA as he managed to get it to 3.22 in 23 starts before a promotion to Triple-A. Unfortunately, the altitude wasn’t kind to Reed, as the 24 year old allowed an ERA of almost 11.00.
Going forward, it’s unclear if Reed fits better in the rotation or the bullpen. He’s obviously more valuable if he can start but could be more effective as a reliever, allowing his fastball to play up and relying heavily on his above-average slider. He’ll likely continue to develop as a starter and switch to relief if he can’t hack it in the rotation.
Schebler was one of a handful of outfielders the Dodgers drafted in 2010 to sign above slot bonuses. The most noteworthy of that group was Joc Pederson. However, Schebler has carved out a pretty impressive career thus far.
Schebler played just five games in 2010 and began 2011 with Ogden, where he posted an .853 OPS. The following year, as is tradition, he went to Low-A Great Lakes and struggled. However, over the past two seasons, Schebler has done nothing but hit.
In that span, he’s collected 55 home runs, 27 triples and 52 doubles. Schebler also owns a little speed and played 12 games in center field last season. With the logjam in the Dodgers’ outfield, Schebler becomes one of the team’s best trade pieces.
Schebler definitely would have been snagged by another organization if he hadn’t been protected, so the Dodgers would do well to package him in a deal to address a need in the next few months.